The ABCs of Lowell History: Q is for Quiggle Lake

Quiggle Lake

The ABCs of Lowell History is back for another round. This popular series explores a wide variety of topics in Lowell area history in weekly online articles.

Q is for Quiggle Lake

Within the Lowell school district, in the Southeast corner of Section 14 of Cascade Township, present day 36th Street and Quiggle, sits Quiggle lake. The lake is almost perfectly round, covers about 30 acres and is estimated to be over 100 ft deep on the southeast side.

The lake is named after the Silas Quiggle family who came to the area in the 1850’s but returned to Ohio, only to return and settle on the hill on the east side of the lake in the 1860’s. The home is still there today. The sons of Silas Quiggle all settled and lived life within two miles of the lake they grew up on and talked of visits from native people who had once lived in the area. Charlie Quiggle, son of Silas, used to skate on the lake every winter of his life until his 80’s. Fred Quiggle told of a native camp area and the boys often searched for arrowheads there.

Silas Quiggle Family

It was said the native people refused to canoe on it or eat fish from the lake. They believed the lake was inhabited by an evil spirit, in the form of a ‘great snake’. The Quiggle boys, sons of Silas, thought the old folks told the snake story to keep the kids out of the lake. It didn’t work. Parents were afraid if someone drowned that they would never find the body. Boys played tricks on their folks and neighbors by rowing out into the lake. They would then turn the boat upside down, dive down and come up inside where they could breathe. They would stay there several minutes to scare people half to death. Their mother said she wished that the boat would sink so they couldn’t play in it.

Silas Quiggle’s grandson Claude lived on the lake and ran a successful rowboat rental business until his death in 1987. During this time the DNR stocked the lake with trout, and it was a popular place to fish. After Claude died there was no public access to the lake and the DNR stopped stocking the lake with trout.

Claude Quiggle pointing over Quiggle Lake

Controversy can be everywhere, even Quiggle Lake. Locally it is explained that the lake was formerly called Gove Lake, named for E.D. Gove who came to Cascade township in 1842 and lived near 36th St and Buttrick. The federal records show otherwise. In 1976 Dale Stevens, supervisor cartographer for the U.S. Geological Survey mid-continent region, studied the lake’s history and showed that the Department of the Interior only has the name of the lake as ‘Quiggle’ throughout history. While early 1900’s county and local maps show the lake as “Gove”, it is the federal decision that is official, so the ‘Gove Lake’ sign came down and was replaced by the current sign.

Quiggle Lake

The lake is still there, although instead of a giant snake, some fishermen will tell of the giant snapping turtles that keep them from jumping in the water for a refreshing swim. Even though one brave resident still swims across the lake and back several times a week, not everyone is convinced that the turtles are harmless. In fact, they suspect that the monster spoken of through time was not a snake-like creature, but rather, a monster snapping turtle.

There are Quiggle family members remaining in the Lowell area. Though Claude’s cabin is no longer standing, many still remember the small shack and the thriving business on a lake once misnamed and feared.

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